Cue Sports: Indian Open cancelled due to COVID-19 crisis

Indian Open, scheduled to be held this September in Odisha, will not be held due to the COVID-19

Matthew Selt

Matthew Selt in action at the 2019 Indian Open.   -  SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

The eighth edition of the prestigious Indian Open, scheduled to be held  this September in Odisha, will not be held this year in view of the COVID-19 crisis, according to Capt. P.V.K. Mohan, chairman of the Billiards & Snooker Federation of India.

“It is obvious that sponsorship will be a major issue not just for cue sports for every other discipline in the wake of the global crisis as every section of the market is badly hit,” says Capt. Mohan in a chat with ‘Sportstar’ on Monday.

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“Well, to be fair to Odisha Government which has come forward to chip in with a major chunk of sponsorship, but since it is not just enough as it is a Rs. 8 crore budgeted event featuring the best, we had no option but to cancel it this year,” Capt. Mohan, who is also the Advisor to international body IBSF.

“There is no doubt getting sponsors for the major events will be a huge challenge for the next few months. But, luckily, our Indian calendar was completed before this crisis hit hard as our next big event – the Nationals – is scheduled next January,” Capt. Mohan said. On the international schedule of events, the BSFI official said that IBSF world championship in Qatar this November should be on without any issues.

Reflecting on the virus impact on cue sports in post-lockdown phase, he felt that it should not be a big problem. “I am hopeful of full-fledged cue sports activity by this year-end,” he said.

“In terms of playing, the players don’t have any body contact. The crowds have always been very few as it is essentially a TV sport. So, social distancing when any event is not an issue at all,” he said.

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“I am told that quite a few players have already begun solo training sessions to stay in touch with the sport. There will be an issue when it comes to players training in clubs like Film Nagar Culture Centre, Jubilee Hills International Centres as first they have to re-opened for the players to train in the billiards halls there,” he felt.

And, Capt. Mohan believes that the losing out one year in the sport doesn’t mean much considering that the originally scheduled Tokyo Olympics this September itself has been postponed to next year.

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